Justin H. Min, UNICEF's Newest Ambassador, Is Standing Up for Children
As a UNICEF Ambassador, actor Justin H. Min advocates for children and their rights — and sustainable, long-term solutions to the challenges they face.
On a recent visit to Lebanon, newly appointed UNICEF Ambassador Justin H. Min saw firsthand how UNICEF programs are making a difference for children and their families.
"I was really impressed by the way UNICEF offers community-driven solutions," said the 32-year-old actor. For example, "They work with community leaders to help educate community members about things like child labor and child marriage and they do it through the form of entertainment, which I find really interesting and innovative."
Lebanon currently hosts more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees — the highest number of displaced persons per capita and per square kilometer in the world. In Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, Min met with Syrian families living in an informal settlement in Baalbek, and learned from UNICEF experts about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs implemented to prevent the spread of disease.
He also learned that it's not only refugees who need support in Lebanon.
"I think the main misconception for many of us, including myself before coming on this trip, was that the main crisis in Lebanon was with regard to the Syrian refugee crisis, but the thing that I've really learned the most during my time here is now, because of the socioeconomic crisis in Lebanon, as well as the port explosion a couple of years ago, a lot of Lebanese citizens themselves are at risk and vulnerable to things like malnutrition and child marriage and domestic abuse and things like that," said Min.
Currently 700,000 children —37 percent of Lebanon's total school-aged population — are out of school. In Aramoun, about 17 miles north of Beirut, Min visited a UNICEF-supported School Bridging Program at Nashi Al Salim Primary School. The program helps out-of-school Syrian and Lebanese children get back to learning by paying their school tuition, providing school supplies, hygiene kits and recreational materials, and encouraging caretakers to be active participants in their child's learning experience.
"The work that UNICEF is doing both for refugees and for Lebanese citizens themselves is incredibly essential," said Min. "Traveling with UNICEF and seeing their 360-degree approach to empower local communities and protect children reminds me that change happens when we create sustainable, long-term solutions. As the newest UNICEF Ambassador, I am honored to take what I've learned and advocate for the people of Lebanon and refugees everywhere."
As the newest UNICEF Ambassador, I am honored to take what I've learned and advocate for the people of Lebanon and refugees everywhere. — Justin H. Min
Min has been involved with UNICEF since 2020, participating in virtual program visits, moderating speaker events and lending his social media platform to amplify youth voices. As a UNICEF Ambassador, Min will champion children's rights and activate his networks in support of UNICEF's mission of relentlessly pursuing a more equitable world for children.
"Justin formally joins the UNICEF family at a time when the need for powerful voices has never been more important," said UNICEF President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis. "There are over 80 million displaced people around the world, and over 40 percent are children. It's our duty to ensure that these children and their families are protected, no matter where in the world they are. With voices like Justin's, UNICEF USA will continue to amplify the stories of these children and evoke action that leads to change."
As a UNICEF Ambassador, Min joins a roster of high-profile individuals who advocate for children's rights on behalf of UNICEF including Sofia Carson, Selena Gomez, Jeremy Lin, Alyssa Milano and P!NK, among others.
UNICEF has worked in Lebanon for 70 years to ensure very child is healthy, educated, protected and respected. Your 100% tax-deductible donation will help UNICEF reach children in Lebanon with safe water, nutrition, education and health care. Please donate.
Top photo: UNICEF's newest Ambassador, actor Justin H. Min ("The Umbrella Academy," "After Yang"), poses for a selfie with 12-year-old Rasha, a Syrian refugee, in Baalbek, Lebanon on May 23, 2022. © Fouad Choufany for UNICEF USA